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"Come on, Cleo, there's a coffee shop in town that charges according to carbon footprint. The vegan stuff costs way less than other places, and I think they just go ahead and make their own oat-milk, oats by the sack load are mega cheap!"

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Ninety percent of the world's coffee is grown in developing countries with their cheap labour, while the consumption is largely in the developed industrialised nations. This luxury and addictive product that gives no nutritional value, is grown on their land to be exported while they suffer and die of malnutrition - and, oh yes, makes a lot of people very wealthy as they trade in futures contracts on Wall Street.

Twenty one thousand children die per day of malnutrition related diseases - thats about seven 9/11's per day; they need real food. Yet a simple boycott of such cash crops would harm more than help. If the price of coffee drops by even one or two percent, people in Sierra Leone start burying their children. They need their native lands returned to them so they can grow their traditional crops for their own domestic consumption. That their land is taken up with a cash crop while they lack food is wrong. Economics will never give an answer, only more confusion, because the system is set up to centralise resources in the developed countries. It's time to see modern day slavery in broader terms and see the incalculable costs to human lives. I love drinking coffee, and I will buy it until there is system change, but I'd rather they could grow real food on their land and be healthy. Increased use of land for cash crops is linked to deforestation - people need to eat and they only fair trade for using their land in this way is proper food in ample supply.

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The air is thick with the scent of coffee and although I drink in the aroma like everyone else I will never hand over my wares for it. In my clay mug of soup is meat, vegetables, even seasoning, those mugs hold only bitterness and caffeine - yesterdays drug of choice. Without milk or sugar it must be beyond unpleasant, yet a line forms early at the stall and persists until the beans have run out. Even then some linger in the hopes of more to come. I wish I'd had the foresight to loot Starbucks and Timmies first like those guys, who knew even post-pandemic Vancouverites would still chase their caffeine fixes. Interestingly there's not a person under twenty-five in the line up. Mostly they are middle aged with some lingering body fat. Perhaps these are customers for my candy trades. As my hands are rejuvenated by the soup, heat radiating as far as the cuffs of my jacket, I study them. Who has things I need, who looks well equipped? I sip and analyze, my favourite activity by far.

By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, December 6, 2014.

Found in Darwin's Ghost - first draft, authored by daisy.

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The morning was as old as the coffee on my desk. I tapped it's murky surface to break the thickening skin and watched the new gap grow. The frigid brown drink dripped from my finger, the ripples spreading toward the rim in ever larger circles. I know I'm spoilt, so used to the finest beans, always freshly brewed and served with half-and-half. I still crave a subtle undertone of hazelnut and my cup to be a festive colour with cardboard around it to protect my fingers from the heat. Instead it is this instant muck, served warm in polystyrene - depression served without a smile. It suits this place though, it matches the beige walls and the melamine desks, it's as welcoming as the unguarded strip lights and the worn blue carpet. The only thing alive in here is the ticking clock, I think the rest of us died some time ago.

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When I arrive at work there is already a coffee on my desk. There is no note to let me know who the buyer is yet one sniff tells me it's my favourite - hazelnut latte. I sink into my chair and peer around. Hardly anyone is here yet and no-one even looks my way or acknowledges me at all. I turn my attention back to the cup. It's a venti, tall, frothy and still hot. I want to resist it until I know the giver, but without a conscious thought it is in my hand and the first milky sip creeps over my taste-buds and down my throat. After only a few minutes I am bathing in the kick of the caffeine. The time for finding my benefactor has passed, the first meetings of the day are already slated to begin. So I carry my reports in one hand and the cup in the other. Until it's drained it will be within an easy arms reach.

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The latte is over-priced and at first Saskia finds it bitter. It sits prettily in a white china cup, a leaf pattern in delicate milky foam among the pale brown. She wraps her fingers around it, enjoying the heat that spreads through her hands. Her father sips at his like it is a great luxury, his face is the same as when he takes a nip of his single malt, relaxed, savouring both the drink and the moment. She takes another sip, still bitter, but only babies ask for hot chocolate or syrup. She takes a bigger sip and this time lets the warm liquid sit on her tongue for longer. There is a flavour there, once accustomed to the bitterness it steps forth shyly. It is this undertone that is so apparent in the aroma - you can't smell bitterness and so in the warm air of the bakery it is just as heady as the smell of baking bread.

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...Remember to ask me about it later, we can giggle about it over some decaf coffee, it’s all I drink. Can you imagine this brain on caffeine, holy crap, I’d be burning holes in the carpet just by running around so fast. Anyway, enough of that. I’m a bit tired now and the kids will be home soon. Isn’t anyone missing you yet?...

By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, March 15, 2015.

Found in Are you awake yet? - first draft, authored by Daisy.

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The smooth,brown milk created a contrast with the mug that lay on the table with others of its kind. the lustrous texture, topped with chocolate crumbles outdated the effect created by the coffee beans which placed themselves outside the mug, begging to be crushed!The vibrant aroma seemed to have extricated itself from the thick, cream coating over the surface,penetrating deep into my nose, watering my mouth!!

By Dheer Bhanushali, December 6, 2014.
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Arabica beans, fresh ground, latte, expresso, Americano, hazelnut, french vanilla, percolated, instant, lousy, indifferent, cold, scalding, hot, milky, cream, syrup, mocha, decaffeinated, black, sugar, dunking biscotti, fair trade, Starbucks.

By angela, December 30, 2011.